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A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. "Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I'll be on my way...

Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life by Alison Weir

Renowned in her time for being the most beautiful woman in Europe, the wife of two kings and mother of three, Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the great heroines of the Middle Ages. At a time when women were regarded as little more than chattel, Eleanor managed to defy convention as she exercised power in the political sphere and crucial influence over her husbands and sons.

Essays in Love by Alain de Botton

Charting the progress of an affair, from first kiss to argument and reconciliation, from intimacy and tenderness to anxiety, this is a wholly modern attempt to define the age-old dilemmas of the heart by detailing the highs and lows of contemporary romance.

Fireflies in the Mist by Qurratulain Hyder

Fireflies follows the creation of modern day Bangladesh - from Indian province, to Partition, to the emergence of statehood - as told through the impassioned voice of Deepali Sarkar and others around her who live through the turbulence. Hyder perceptively and majestically follows the trajectory of Sarkar's life - from her secluded upbringing in Dhaka to becoming a socialist rebel and...

Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut

Galápagos takes the reader back one million years, to A.D. 1986. A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race. In this inimitable novel, America's master satirist looks at our world and...

Horrorism by Adriana Cavarero

Words like "terrorism" and "war" no longer encompass the scope of contemporary violence. With this explosive book, Cavarero, one of the world's most provocative feminist theorists and political philosophers, effectively renders such terms obsolete. She introduces a new word - "horrorism" - to capture the experience of violence. Unlike terror, horrorism is a form of violation grounded...

London by Edward Rutherfurd

Rutherfurd brings this vibrant city's long and noble history alive through the ever-shifting fortunes, fates, and intrigues of half-a-dozen families, from the age of Julius Caesar to the twentieth century. Generation after generation, these families embody the passion, struggle, wealth, and verve of the greatest city in the world.

Pharaoh by Karen Essex

Following on from 'Kleopatra', the glittering epic of Egypt's queen continues as she allies herself with Anthony and begins a love story that immortalizes her as one of history's greatest political players and most tragic heroines.

Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg

When caustic Smilla Jaspersen discovers that her neighbor - a neglected six-year-old boy, and possibly her only friend - has died in a tragic accident, a peculiar intuition tells her it was murder.

Songbook by Nick Hornby

Songs, songwriters, and why and how they get under our skin... Songbook is Hornby's labor of love. A shrewd, funny, and completely unique collection of musings on pop music, why it's good, what makes us listen and love it, and the ways in which it attaches itself to our lives - all with the beat of a perfectly mastered mix tape.

The Turkish Gambit by Boris Akunin

It is 1877, and war has broken out between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. In the treacherous atmosphere of a Russian field army, former diplomat and detective extraordinaire Erast Fandorin stumbles upon his most confounding case. Its difficulties are only compounded by the presence of Varya Suvorova, a deadly serious (and seriously beautiful) woman with revolutionary ideals who has...

Townie by Andre Dubus III

After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Dubus and his three siblings grew up with their exhausted working mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and crime. To protect himself and those he loved from street violence, Andre learned to use his fists so well that he was even scared of himself. He was on a fast track to getting killed - or killing someone...